Having to deal with angry and upset customers is by far one of the worst responsibilities we must face on a day to day basis in the world of sales and business.
However, this responsibility, like so many others we must face on a daily basis, just comes with the territory.
Customers become angry for all sorts of reasons. Some are legitimate reasons. Some are not. In any event it is our job to defuse the situation. Here are a few tips on how you can calm your customer down and put them at ease.
1. Give them your hand to shake
When I was in the banking industry, I worked many years as a branch manager. A customer’s body language would speak volumes as they approached my office. This body language allowed me to prepare for what was to come.
It is not difficult to tell when someone is angry. Their face scrunches. Their lips tighten, and their brow wrinkles. They walk quickly with a purpose in their step, and you know they mean business.
My reaction to this type of body language was to reach out my hand to them as an offering of peace. I did this before they had an opportunity to start venting their anger. I would then calmly introduce myself and ask how I could be of help to them.
This technique will catch your customer off guard, and your acts of professionalism and sincerity will ease the tension and put the rationale back into your customers thought process.
This technique is by far the best way to begin any conversation that has the potential to be blown out of proportion.
2. Apologize to your customer
Once you have your customer seated and have allowed for them to vent, the first thing you want to do is apologize on behalf of your company for the way they have made them feel, or for the inconvenience they have been put through.
It really doesn’t matter if your customer is right or wrong, by apologizing to your customer you are being empathetic to their situation. This gives the customer the feeling that you are on their side.
Remember, when a customer has an issue, what they want more than anything else is for someone to listen to their problem and have an understanding of where they are coming from.
There is absolutely no need to take a bad situation and make it worse.
3. Resolve the problem
The last and final thing you want to assure your customer is that the problem will be resolved, or at the very least, the problem will not happen again.
To leave a problem unresolved and your customer hanging will only lead to more confrontations and wasted time down the line.
Remember, when time is wasted, money is wasted.
Again, putting out fires on a daily basis comes with the territory. The sooner you put out the fires the better.
Never take a customer complaint personally. Act as your customers advocate, and you will always prevent a bad situation from escalating.